Madarosis is a medical term that is used to describe the loss of eyelashes or eyebrows. There are many potential causes for madarosis, some which could be fatal without proper treatment, so a complete physical examination is necessary in order to accurately diagnose the underlying cause. Patients are often referred to several types of specialists, including endocrinologists, dermatologists, and internists. There is no specific treatment for this symptom, as it is necessary to diagnose and treat the underlying condition. Any questions or concerns about madarosis or individualized treatment options should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.
Burns, traumatic injuries, or certain surgical procedures may sometimes lead to the development of madarosis. Infection or inflammation of the eyelids are other possible causes of this symptom. Once the underlying medical condition has been successfully treated, the eyelashes or eyebrows will usually grow back in a normal fashion.
Trichotillomania is a type of impulsive disorder that causes the affected person to compulsively pull out his own hair, often including the eyebrows and eyelashes. This can be a difficult disorder to treat and often takes several months or years to effectively control the impulses that cause the patient to pull out his hair. A combination of prescription medications and behavior therapy is the most effective treatment method for trichotillomania.
Certain autoimmune diseases may involve madarosis as a symptom, although not everyone who is diagnosed with these diseases will develop this type of hair loss. Some of the most common autoimmune diseases with the potential to lead to the development of madarosis include lupus, alopecia areata, and scleroderma. Treatment of these diseases may help the eyelashes and eyebrows to grow back, although this is not always the case.
Some forms of cancer or congenital birth defects may cause madarosis in some cases. Treatment options may include radiation treatment, chemotherapy, or surgical intervention. Some medications, especially those used to treat heart or thyroid conditions, have been known to cause this symptom, and in most cases the hair grows back after the medication has been stopped.
Endocrine disorders affecting the thyroid gland or pituitary gland may sometimes lead to madarosis. These hormone disorders can be fatal in some instances if not properly diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. Medications may be helpful, although surgery is frequently needed, depending on the reason for the disorder. Any loss of eyelashes or eyebrows should be reported to a doctor for further medical evaluation.